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About this Piece

"Grandpa's Spells," "Jungle Blues," "Black Bottom Stomp"
by Ferdinand Joseph La Menthe ("Jelly Roll" Morton) (1890-1941)

Among the giants of early jazz, Jelly Roll Morton looms larger than most. His startling claim of having invented the style in 1902 is consistent with what jazz historian Orrin Keepnews has described as "just about the most flamboyant, colorful, and exasperating personality imaginable." Morton too left New Orleans prior to 1920 and ended up in Chicago, where he made his first recordings for Victor in 1926. These souvenirs of that rowdy and randy era are uptempo and brilliant, showcasing the virtuosity of the composer and of his ensemble, which at the time included such stars as Kid Ory on trombone and Barney Bigard on clarinet. No wonder the band was billed as Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers!

- Dennis Bade is the Philharmonic's Associate Director of Publications.